Yes, yes, onward, blogobstacles!! Let no man grow weary of slacking and surfing the net. We are the thin plutonium powder line between reality as we know it and impending chaotic doom of galactic marginalization and lardification.
“In a world where aliens and interstellar thugs reign havoc on the innocent, one man will rise to lead the broken nerd herd to conquerdom. A quiet hero called to duty by Elmo….” Blast, boom, explode, sound effects. Bright lights. Hopeful music. And one chiseled face rises up on the screen… “His name? Mr. Noodle.”
How his name became a group’s battle cry is a long story without a beginning, middle, or end. Dave and Vicki and my wife and I and Dave’s two sisters were at Hauser’s Winery on the mountain top overlooking Gettysburg in late summer, early fall. There was a band around the corner but no seats for us, so we huddled against the warm stone wall at a metal table with eight chairs and drank wine, laughed, ate, and noodled around as we are prone to do. This was not our first rodeo, no sir. We would entertain and supervise ourselves, by golly. Stories were told and an occasional dance occurred to warm up buns and feet in the evening chill. Not for Dave, though; he has the most unnatural covering of body hair known to homo sapiens and that insulates him year round. Vicki actually has to groom him twice a year with an electric razor that they also shave the dogs with. He was wearing shorts, of course. We wore sweaters and jackets.
As we carried on and played with words and songs, Deedee made the first reference to our hero. “Who is the guy who Elmo talks to? You know, he never talks.” Well, Sesame Street was two decades away in my memory vault. I could not even guess, but I can do an Elmo voice, which I proceeded to do. You see, when my oldest daughter was an only child, for almost five years, she loved to play dramas like The Wizard of Oz. She would be Dorothy and I was then compelled to be all the other characters, constantly changing voices and body language to entertain her and meet her approval. She was a tough audience. Still is. Anyway, I have a little bit of a mimic skill in me and can often imitate characters. For some reason I can do Marlon Brando’s Godfather voice by pretending to have a sinus infection while holding a dry prune in the back of my throat and gutturally groaning past it.
“You come to me , (inhale slowly) on the day of my daughter’s wedding,(exhale slowly) to ask me this favor? (Pause with a quavering lower lip) And yet, (inhale) I asked you to be my friend years ago, (exhale quickly) but you did not want my friendship.” It’s close enough to bring smiles.
But Elmo’s voice is all high pitched with simple vocabulary. No tone like Bert or Ernie or Grover, Super Grover!!
“Hey, hey Bert. Would you like to see my new ball?”
“But Bert, I uh, I can bounce my ball and it comes right back to me. See? Can your paperclips do that? Huh, Bert? Can they? Huh?”
“Oh, Ernie, that’s silly. No one bounces paperclips. Why don’t you go on and roll your ball somewhere else, okay? I’m just about finished here. Just straighten this last row out. There.”
“But Bert, don’t you want to bounce my ball? Go ahead. It’s fun. You’ll love it, old buddy.”
“Well, okay, if you’ll leave me alone.”
Bert bounces the ball and it explodes onto his paperclip collection sending it all into a flittery fish scale mess.
“Ernie. You ruined my work!! Now take your stupid ball and get away from me.”
“I’m sorry, Bert, old Buddy. Heeheeheee. That’s how the old ball bounces, hee hee.”
And Grover was the world’s best restaurant customer. In our basement my two younger daughters set up the Angel Café around a plastic kitchen set. They would make menus and set up a table with plates and a tea pot. Eventually I would be called to be their customer, at which time I’d channel my Grover.
“Here is your menu, sir. We have a spaghetti special today with salad and a roll and tea.”
(Sotto voce) “Order that, Dad.”
In falsetto Grover voice, “Uhhum! Waiter, I would like a bowl of bean and onion soup, please.”
“Sir, we don’t have soup. We have spaghetti.”
“I’m not interested in spaghetti. I had that for breakfast.”
“No you didn’t! Sir! You have to order from the menu.”
Grover, “I don’t care for your menu. I’ll have the soup.”
“Hmmmph. You are not playing right, Dad.”
Grover, “Who is this Dad you are referring to?”
Jessica, returning with a bowl and slaps it on the table. “Here’s your soup.”
Grover, “How rude! No wonder there is no one in your Café.”
Jessica walks away to gather her six year old wits.
Grover, “Ahhh! Waiter, there is a fly in my soup.”
Jessica snaps. “No there isn’t. We’re just pretending and you aren’t playing right.”
Grover, “I want to speak with your manager.”
Ten year old Grace arrives. “Sir, you are creating a disturbance and must leave.”
Grover, “Not until the fly is removed from my soup.”
Those were fun times for me and gave the girls a lot of material for later therapy sessions.
But, back to the winery and finally someone came up with Mr. Noodle. I don’t know if it was the wine or all the intellectual foreplay, but once his name was uttered, we all burst out laughing. For the next hour Mr. Noodle was worked into various comic contexts. We were helpless in our infantile humor.
“That’s what Mr. Noodle said.”